Bush urges lawmakers to preserve past tax cuts, offer health care breaks | VailDaily.com
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Bush urges lawmakers to preserve past tax cuts, offer health care breaks

Daily Staff Report

WASHINGTON – President Bush urged lawmakers Monday to reduce taxes $1.7 trillion over the next decade, mostly cementing tax cuts passed earlier in his presidency.The budget blueprint asks lawmakers to preserve tax cuts passed in recent years for workers, parents, investors and others. Those reductions would otherwise disappear by the end of the decade.”Allowing the tax relief to expire would result in large tax increases for millions of American families and businesses,” the White House said in its budget documents.Bush also proposed bigger tax breaks for small businesses and a broad expansion of health savings accounts, which would let individuals and families covered by high-deductible health insurance policies to put aside money tax-free for medical expenses.Keeping already enacted tax cuts in place for the coming decade would reduce money projected to flow from taxpayers to the federal government by $1.4 trillion.Details provided by the Treasury Department show the annual cost of keeping the tax reductions alive in the years after the president leaves office, after the tax cuts are scheduled to expire.Bush’s tax cuts would amount to $229 billion in fiscal year 2012 and grow to $263 billion in 2016, the last year covered by the budget. Those reductions include lower income tax rates, larger child tax credits, reduced taxes on capital gains and dividends, the elimination of estate taxes and others.The White House did not propose a permanent fix for the alternative minimum tax but urged Congress to keep a temporary solution in place for another year, an idea that lawmakers already have under debate.Meant to trap wealthy tax dodgers, the alternative minimum tax hits more middle class families each year. The Treasury Department said 4 million taxpayers paid it last year, but more than 22 million can expect to pay this year without congressional intervention.Rep. Charles Rangel, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, said the alternative minimum tax will grab tax cuts from many families unless it’s tamed in future years.A presidentially appointed panel last year recommended ways to simplify tax rules, but the Treasury Department has not yet proposed its ideas for changes.The administration tax ideas submitted with the budget include many proposals put forth before but ignored by Congress, including expanded savings accounts for retirement and family expenses.The president would make a business research and development credit a permanent incentive. He proposed ideas for helping the IRS collect more taxes that go uncollected each year.The White House would also simplify rules for two refundable tax credits widely used by low-income families, the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, and modify two tax breaks for energy producers that, the White House said, don’t do much to increase energy supplies.Vail, Colorado


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